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How the iPod Tax Affects the Cost of Your Smartphone in Canada


tony clement
Photo taken by BlackBerryCool at the event

Today in Ottawa, Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, and the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, issued the following statement:

“We are here to confirm that the Harper Government will not bring in an iPod tax as part of its copyright legislation. The iPod Tax has been proposed and supported by all opposition parties.

“We simply cannot support the opposition’s massive new iPod Tax on Canadian music lovers. The iPod Tax would add up to $75 to the price of every mp3 player and smartphone on the market. It would hurt the economy, punish consumers and families, and send the wrong message during this fragile economic recovery.”
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BlackBerry Becomes Self-Aware: Releases Music Store


Research in Motion just released the first self-aware BlackBerry smartphone (AI phone). It’s an incredible move in the smartphone industry that nobody saw coming.

While the public waited fearfully, thinking the first artificially intelligent smartphone would recognize the value in enslaving humanity, it instead chose the route of launching a music store. You can now purchase MP3s directly from your BlackBerry. Resistance is futile.

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Migrating Smartphones: Switching from iPhone to BlackBerry



Something not often talked about is iPhone users migrating to BlackBerry. Customer satisfaction among iPhone users is very high. The reason for such a good score is that relatively little goes wrong with an iPhone. The iPhone is both simple and elegant in it’s software and hardware design, making for a trouble-free, and rewarding user experience.

Apple has build their reputation marketing their products as the “alternative” to the woes of mainstream computing. Throughout the company’s history, there have been several ad campaigns inviting people to switch platforms to Apple. Having a platform focused on ease of use, simple OS design, and a small product lineup has made choosing Apples’ products a “no brainer” kind of choice. To the people who are easily frustrated by traditional computing, it’s a great platform that gives them real piece of mind.
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Nexus One and What it Means for BlackBerry and iPhone



I love competition! There is no doubt that the introduction of the iPhone raised the high water mark for mobile user interface and forced RIM to bring the BlackBerry Storm to market quickly. RIM and Verizon perhaps launched more hastily than they ought to have, but nonetheless the end result was the spawning of the mobile app revolution.

When the software powerhouse Google announced yesterday they are selling the GSM neutral Nexus One Smartphone direct, my initial thought was “I hope they recognize that they just stepped on a landmine!” In my opinion, this is the boldest (no pun intended) move a software company can make. After all, Microsoft has failed repeatedly to successfully make this leap to hardware manufacturer. The nuances of running a hardware manufacturing business is drastically different than writing software and making support tweaks. Furthermore, as I learned when I worked for Digital Equipment Corporation: it doesn’t matter how amazing your product is, you still need to market and sell it.
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Smartphone research comparing iPhone and BlackBerry often flawed



The research behind iPhone and BlackBerry comparisons that is making its way into the mainstream media is almost always flawed. The media loves to talk about the prolific nature of the iPhone and how technologically advanced its users are, while almost implicitly ragging on BlackBerry.

A recent study claims that iPhone owners are much more likely to download apps and get involved with social networking than their BlackBerry-owning counterparts.

The study shows that about 72% of iPhone users are likely to have downloaded at least 10 third-party apps, but 73% of BlackBerry users have picked up five apps or less. The researchers add that iPhone owners are more willing to buy their apps than BlackBerry owners.

When it comes to downloading third party apps, this study failed to recognize that bulk apps, shouldn’t be recognized as multiple applications. They are essentially the same app, templated and replicated by changing a few small pieces of data. This is where RIM shines in that App World isn’t filled with the same amount of useless garbage.

With regards to social networking, the researchers found that roughly 71% of Apple users have a Facebook account versus 44% of BlackBerry users. Twitter follows a similar trend with 26% for iPhone versus 15% for BlackBerry.

Social networking discrepancies is a demographics issue, not a device issue as the research implies. While BlackBerry is moving its focus to the consumer market, it still has years of enterprise users behind it and this could be skewing the numbers. In the end, we all know that the BlackBerry is an incredibly powerful social networking tool. Whether or not the older BlackBerry demographic is using these services is another matter.

One element of the research that I find particularly flawed, is the research that says 83 percent of users prefer apps that cost below $5. This is a consistent mistake that researchers make. They think that just because you have asked someone what they want to pay for something, that that information is somehow valuable. The truth is that everyone wants to pay the minimum, and if possible, get it for free. The reality of the situation is that if your app is well designed and provides a tangible benefit to the user, the $5 benchmark is meaningless. Just look at TetherBerry, it’s a $50 application that is one of Mobihand’s best sellers.

Skyfire receives $5 million in funding to grow BlackBerry platform and more


Skyfire for BlackBerry

Skyfire has announced they have received $5 million in funding. The funds will top off their Series B from existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, Matrix Partners and Trinity Ventures. The company will use the funds to support new smartphone platforms beyond Windows Mobile, Symbian and BlackBerry, as well as utilizing their unique technology for solutions beyond the browser.

It’s not obvious yet how RIM’s acquisition of Torch Mobile and their plans to update the browser will affect third party browsers such as Opera Mini and Skyfire. It’s possible that once RIM updates their browser, there will no longer be a need for third party browsers, as the experience would be adequate for the general user. On the other hand, third party browsers have been innovating in the space and there is something to be said for being the first to market. There may always be a need for third party browsers to deliver a browsing experience better than that of the native browser.